Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yummy, Moist Chocolate Cake...with a Twist!

OK, so some of my readers may be aware that I have put myself on a "no dairy" diet for the sake of my darling baby. She is 6 months old and I am nursing her still. When I eat dairy her cheeks get red and scratchy, her nose runs, she gets a cough and she projectile vomits. She is most likely allergic to the protein in milk, which actually is quite a common problem for babies. Anyhow, it's been a TOUGH road for me. And I cheat more than I should, causing her grief. Because dairy is in EVERYTHING it seems like. It's of course in milk, cheese, yogurt, most salad dressings, cream soups (goodbye creamy casseroles and soups), ice cream, chocolate, but it's also in stuff like peanut butter chips, granola bars, some breads and cereals, doughnuts and of course all cakes. And I don't have a lot of willpower. So I cheat. And she throws up and is miserable.

But recently I have discovered the fabulous thing that is Almond Milk. And it is SO much better tasting than Soy! It costs about the same (under $3 for a 1/2 gallon carton) - you can find coupons easily and there's only 40-60 calories per serving depending on the variety you buy. What does any of this have to do with chocolate cake? Well I was using it for cereal mostly, but one day got this crazy idea that I could start cooking with it. I used it to make cornbread one day and it turned out so good. Better than when I use regular milk in fact --it was much moister and a better texture. So the other day I tried a white cake...yummy! ( I will post the recipe for that soon too!) Today, it was chocolate cake.

And now I am finally at peace :). Do you know what it's like to go without chocolate???? But plain cocoa doesn't have milk in it...so I substituted the buttermilk for almond milk and "voila!" Chocolate fix granted! I'll tell you I am in HEAVEN today! And again this is better than any chocolate cake you can buy or make from a box. I am getting to the point I might be done with milk for good just because I WANT to! Life is good today...

OK to the recipe...

Dairy Free Moist Dark Chocolate Cake (OK, so the name needs work...any suggestions?)

2 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Baking Cocoa
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 C Almond Milk (original recipe called for buttermilk, if you really don't want to try it with AM...but you will really thank me if you try it this way...I promise!)
1 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Boiling water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yep! this is a SLOW bake cake). Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until everything is blended and smooth. Pour into your pan. It will be thin. Bake for one hour. Test by sticking with a fork or toothpick. It is done when it comes out clean. Cool and serve with your favorite icing...or by itself!

Also - Did you know you can substitute applesauce or black beans for oil? I haven't tried it with this recipe, but will let you know if I do...if you try it, let me know the results!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Crock-Pot Hawaiian Chicken

This is a really easy yummy dish that you can throw in the crock pot and forget about it until you put it on the table. Serve with rice and you've got a nice summer meal without the oven being on and heating up the house!

Crock-Pot Hawaiian Chicken

3 lbs chicken breast
1 16 oz can pineapple chunks
1 15 oz can mandarin oranges
2 TBLS Lemon juice
2 TBLS brown sugar
2 TBLS corn starch (I actually used about TWICE this much because I wanted the sauce thicker!)
1/4 tsp each salt and ground ginger

Combine corn starch with cold lemon juice (if you put it with warm liquids it will clump up!). Add all other ingredients besides chicken. Stir well. Place chicken and mixture in the crockpot and stir to coat all the chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until done.

Makes 6 servings. Calories: 370. Total Fat: 3g. Sodium 260 mg. Total Carbs: 28g. Protein: 52g.